Shiver me timbers, matey! A pirate party is a bold, colourful and fun theme for kids of any age – and many adults too can’t resist the jovial allure of this theme. This guide focuses on pirate party themes for children aged between four and eight, an age where their imaginations are only limited by the hours in the day, and where make-believe is as natural as petals on flowers.
How many guests?
A pirate themed party is perfect wherever the party venue – at home, a play centre, the local swimming pool or out in the park. The question is: how many guests to invite? This depends on three things: budget, venue capacity and support to help host and organise. If you want to go big then rope in help from family and friends, alternatively if you’re having the party at a venue there will be staff on hand to host.
The party budget
Parents in the UK spend an average of £300 on their child’s birthday party*. This cost is mainly towards party entertainment or venue, party food, party bags and decorations. Setting a budget before you start planning your child’s party is a good idea just so you know how much is going where or else costs can quickly escalate without realising.
Typical party budget for 10 children:
> Party venue or entertainer – £125
> Party food – £5 per child
Some party venues provide food as part of the overall cost. However if you need to provide food consider a cost of £5 per child
> Pirate Party invitations – £11
There are plenty of creative ways to make your own party invites, and there’s also a great selection of ready-made party invites to link to your child’s party theme.
> Pirate Party bags and fillers – £2.50 to £3.50 per child
How much to spend on party bag fillers varies, with this amount you can buy a decent gift and include a few small sweets (and perhaps add in a piece of party cake too).
> Pirate Party cake – £10 – £150
Depending on where you buy, and if you get a cake especially made. If you live in Berkshire then have a look at this cake decorator – Tiers of Happiness – who creates the most beautiful party cakes.
> Pirate Party decorations – £30
A string of bunting, balloons and streamers can make a jolly fun statement at any child’s party.
> Pirate Party tableware – £20
Whether at a venue or at home, follow the pirate party theme by using themed plates, cups, napkins and tablecloth.
* According by a recent poll by Mum’s Show Live 2013
Pirate party food
> Check for allergies and intolerances
When sending out the invitations always ask parents to let you know if children have any food intolerances or allergies, and then plan your menu accordingly. As a rule of thumb it’s safest to exclude nuts and keep the party food simple. Add in a mix of healthy snacks and sweets treats too, after all what is a party without something yummy?
> A simple, tasty menu
The types and portions of food served at a party depends on the timings, so if the party is around lunch or tea times then it’s pretty standard practice to provide a decent spread. Always keep it simple as this is proven to work best! Here are few no-fuss and tasty party food ideas:
- Sandwich shapes using cookie cutters – fill with cheese, ham, strawberry jam
- Fruit pots – fill small bowls or treat cups with chopped strawberries, blueberries and pineapple
- Breadsticks dipped in chocolate – dip breadsticks into melted chocolate and then coat with coloured sprinkles
- Jelly pots – make jelly in small clear cups for each child, once set pop in a marshmallow and strawberry
- Mini pizzas – cut pastry into small round shapes and top with tomato paste, mozzarella and a pinch of fresh chopped basil
- Frozen yoghurt bananas – dip thick bananas pieces into yoghurt, add sprinkles or grated chocolate. Pop in a lolly stick and freeze
- Veggie stick pots – add a teaspoon of humus in a small clear cup then pile in batons of carrots, cucumbers and peppers
> Party food boxes
A personal favourite, this is a great option for outdoor parties, party venues where food isn’t served, or even parties at home. Give each party guest their own snack box filled with four tasty goodies and a water or fruit drink. This can include a small yoghurt and spoon, a treat pot filled with fruit (grapes or strawberries), half a sandwich (or whole depending on age), and a cupcake. Alternatively a hotdog, fruit and bag of crisps, fruit juice is a great combo. Always have a few bottled waters on hand in case children don’t like fruit juices. It’s worthwhile to spend a little extra on fresh fruit juice instead of concentrates loaded with sugars and awful E-things.
Make your own Pirate Party cake
This simple step by step video shows you how to make a great pirate party cake, by the team at Betty Crocker. Create gorgeous pirate cupcakes too by following this easy guide – super fast and simple!
Colours for a pirate party are generally red, black and white. Fill up the party space with these colours using balloons and streamers which instantly bring a festive feel to the party. Stripes are a perfect pattern to use when decorating a pirate themed party – you can’t have too much!
> Table mast – create a mast for the centre of a table using old white sheets, poles (broomstick handles) and rope. Paint on a skull and cross bones. Alternatively use hessian with red and black ribbons – or stripy fabric
> Garden twine – use garden twine to wind around party cups and the juice jug
> Pirate tablecloth – use old red and white stripe sheets, curtains or fabric to cover the party table – plus string up as make-shift cabin curtains
> Gold coins – pile up gold coins on the party table and overflow from small buckets and old cases around the venue. Make hanging decorations out of large gold coins and hang from the ceiling
> Rag tassel garland – use old white, black and red clothes, fabric or sheets and cut into strips to make a tassel garland. Knot each strip to a length of string or rope and hang around the room – indoors or outside
> Pirate gear – have a big bucket filled with pirate gear, including bandanas, eye patches, beards and masks for guests to wear
> Jewelled plastic cups – stick self-adhesive rhinestone jewels to plastic cups and wine glasses for a sparkly addition
Dress up as a pirate
Kids love dressing up and a pirate party is a super excuse to go bold and fierce! The quickest and easiest way to get a pirate look without buying a special fancy dress outfit, it to wear a stripy T-shirt, throw on a few chunky pretend-gold necklaces (charity shop!), then make a bandana out of black or red fabric and tie in a knot at the back of the head. Paint a white skull and crossbones on the front for extra grrrr! Wear a pair of old trousers with the bottoms rolled up (or cut off), then add thick black eyeliner under the eyes along with a few bold dots on the chin for stubble and ta dah – you’re a pirate! For extra style wear a waistcoat and tie a red or black sash around the waist.
Make a cutlass using thick card. Fold tinfoil around the blade part and then paint the handle black.
Pirate Party bags
> Brown paper bags tied with ribbon or string – pop party treats into brown paper bags and tie with bakers twine, ribbon or string. Alternatively use wooden pegs to seal bags and attach a personalised tag
> Pirate party bag fillers – pop in a few chocolate coins, an eye-patch and a few pirate-themed tattoos or stickers
> Sandy treasure bag – fill small fabric bags with beach sand and pop in a few treasures, like fool’s gold and fancy marbles (parents may need to be warned about potential mess with this one)
Fun pirate party games
- Treasure hunt – create a map for each guest to find a stash of treasure around the house or garden
- Hook toss – secure large plastic hooks (or kids’ pirate hook hands) to a wooden board and make loops out of rope. Each guest will need to toss their hoops so they land on the hooks
- Walk the plank – place a long narrow plank across a blue plastic sheet and decorate it to look like an ocean full of circling sharks. Pirates need to cross the plank without falling into the water!
- Paint a treasure chest – seat guests around a large table, provide each one with a small wood or ceramic treasure chest to paint. Place paints in bowls on the centre of the table
- Shark photo booth – use thick card and cut out a large shark’s mouth with an opening for a child to peek through, paint and use as a fun photo booth – also get kids to throw small balls into the shark’s mouth
See our fabulous pirate party ideas on our Pinterest board!